I’m seeing more and more reports of studies involving the use of catalysts to generate hydrogen. This is a fascinating development, so I’ll be posting more of those here (follow this link for a description of the work CalTech is doing on this). The basic premise is to heat water to a point where an added catalysts splits the water molecules into their oxygen and hydrogen components, the hydrogen is then used as fuel. More importantly, the hydrogen can then be stored for later use. For example, imagine a solar thermal collector used to generate the heat to drive this reaction, with excess hydrogen being stored for use during night. It’s a sort of hydrogen battery, if you will.
This research is still in the laboratory stage, but is an interesting path to sustainable energy solutions which address the energy storage concerns.